The Name Desjarlais
The Desjarlais family name began with the arrival of Jean-Jacquet
deGerlaisse, a man from Belgium who had come over with deTracy, and had settled in with an already establish Sieur
named Trudel, in Louiseville RDL. Joseph Desjarlais 1754 would venture out West, and into Manitoba with the expanding
fur trade. They made their home in Manitoba in the 18th century and lived temporarily within a missionary village west
of St. Boniface. Joseph begins our lineage in Manitoba.
This web site highlights the Desjarlais genealogy through a romanticized version
of each individual concerned and from a time that marks the beginning of Louiseville RDL. Louiseville had been successfully
settled and had grown into a thriving community. And much of that history had been before the fur trade had
been discovered. And initially, and in preparation for colonization only men had come over from France, because strong
and robust men had been needed to clear land in preparation for the future farming of that land. And when that initial
stage had proven to be successful ,woman had then been sent to New France to marry those first colonists. Those women had
been known as "Les Filles du Roi."
That part of our history, the beginning years reflected the hardships,the long cold winters
and the constant and ongoing battles with the Indian Nations surrounding New France, and this story also mentions
the ongoing skirmishes between the French and the British. And those battles would escalate in part, and because of
the expanding Fur trade, mostly because those men had spread out and had made their
presence known. And although the fur trade had been a thorn in Frances side, it had also been a good source
of revenue. So while the dream had been of building farming communities that would flourish into successful "Seigneuries"
and to successfully populate the area, nevertheless, the fur trade had been tolerated.
The exploitation of the fur trade had been the reason that those courageous men had
trekked out and had eventually opened up the West, and beginning in what is now Manitoba.
And that area had been populated by men of different nations, as the easy money of the fur
trade industry had captivated the minds of the adventurous men of France, and England, and including the Scots and the Irish.
And those men had mixed in with the indigenous population and that fraternity had enabled those men to exploit the Native
Indian. Those natives knew the land, knew the best ways to hunt, and the best areas that had been rich in fur bearing
animals. The native had also introduced them to the Buffalo, and the Buffalo hunt. Those that hunted had become known
as the Buffalo brigade, and that brigade had often gone as far south as New Mexico. And it is those men that had
opened up the West out to Alberta and into the North West Territories. And it is those men that invented the "Red River Cart.
And that two wheeled cart that had been pulled by oxen, had opened up the fur trade in ways that had not been
dreamed possible. The fur trade had always used waterways to transport their goods, in York boats, and that had limited their
possibilities. But with the introduction of the Red river cart, the fur trader could travel overland, and whenever and
wherever they wished.
Our ancestry, beginning with Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse, and his boys
Joseph and Jean-Francois had been pivotal in bringing the deGerlaisse name out West, albeit with the named changed to Desjarlais.
The simple truth is that our name is a bastardized version of the original, and that change had been introduced by the clergy,
and during a wedding ceremony, when the presiding Priest had misspelled the family name. And that my friends
is how history is made.